Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bricking It by Nick Spalding

When siblings Dan and Hayley Daley inherit their late grandmother’s derelict Victorian farmhouse, it seems like a dream come true. All they have to do is fix the place up and sell it for a tidy profit!

Except—as anyone who has renovated an old house knows—things are never that easy.

The walls are rapidly crumbling around them, the architect is a certified lunatic, the budget is spiraling…and then there’s the disturbingly intelligent cow to worry about.

On top of all this, the renovation is being featured on a daytime reality TV show, and as soon as Great Locations presenter Gerard O’Keefe catches sight of Hayley’s first-floor balcony, he’s determined to woo her out of her ban on romance, whether she wants him to or not.

Will Dan and Hayley survive and sell up? Or will the whole thing collapse on them like a ton of bricks?

I'm a fan of Spalding's work, but this book was especially hysterical. If you have ever been involved in any kind of home renovation project then this is the book for you. It is very British and at times almost over the top, but then Spalding always pulls it back just enough to keep it real. Strong characters, great premise, and all in all a fantastic read.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Taking Charge by Ruth Cardello

Lucy Albright never wanted her family’s Texas ranch, but now it’s in foreclosure. She’s already lost so much she can’t bear the thought of losing one more thing. Lucy learned the hard way not to accept help from a man when there are strings attached, so she’ll do whatever it takes to save the ranch on her own terms—even if that means launching an online business marketing high-tech sex toys.

Ranch manager David Harmon has a reputation for being a cowboy with a heart of gold. Even if she refuses his help, down-and-out Lucy is the kind of woman he’ll do anything to protect. And while David may not know much about Lucy’s naughty side business, that won’t stop a cowboy from doing something he’s set his mind to.

With the ranch threatened by a scheming neighbor, Lucy can’t help but keep David around. Their attraction may be undeniable, but will the spark between them burn her entire future to the ground?

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I thought there was comic gold to be found in a heroine saving her ranch by selling sex toys on the side, but that subplot as it developed was just rather sad and intrusive. David seemed like a great guy, one who deserved better than Lucy who I just never could warm to throughout the book. She drifted too much for my taste- I just wanted to yell at her to stand up and take responsibility for her own life. I also felt like I was watching an old time western where the one guy in town controls everyone else- is that so likely in this day and age? I haven't read other books in the series, and the side characters as introduced here were enjoyable so perhaps this is a better read if you are already following the series.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Good Earls Don't Lie by Michelle Willingham

Lady Rose Thornton never expected to find a half-naked man in her garden. The handsome Irishman claims to be the Earl of Ashton, but was Iain Donovan truly robbed by thieves? Or is he merely an impoverished stranger lying to her?

After losing everything in the potato famine, Iain is searching for a wife whose dowry will save his estate. The beautiful and charming Lady Rose, unable to walk because of an illness that stole her strength, agrees to help him find a wife, but only if he will help her learn to take her first steps.

As their friendship takes root and blossoms into something more, secrets about Iain’s birthright threaten the growing feelings between them. He has no right to love a woman like Rose, who deserves a better life than he can give her. Rose believes that there is more to Iain than a broken past, and she brings light to his shadows.

Within the walls of a secret garden, sometimes miracles happen…

This book was well-written and enjoyable, if a trifle slow at many points. I found the beginning rather clunky- it was hard to believe no one knew to expect an earl to be arriving, and I found his attempts to prove his identity rather tedious. Once that was taken care of, the relationship that developed between Iain and Rose was lovely. I definitely enjoyed his efforts to help her walk, and found myself wondering why no one else was pushing for the same outcome. The whole sub-plot with Iain's mother was unexpectedly harsh but understandable once revealed. All in all, a good read.